Russian, NATO Planes Play Risky Game Over Baltic Sea

Peace and Freedom

More adversarial flights, close intercepts raise concerns of accidents and escalation

NATO and Russian pilots are reviving a Cold War contest of nerves, increasing the risk that airborne close encounters could accidentally spark a conflict.

Over the past three years, the number of adversarial flights near the other side’s planes and ships have increased significantly. The tactic, usually meant as a show of force or used to test tactics, revives a dormant game of chicken long played by Soviet and North Atlantic Treaty Organization pilots.

It was a risky game: Aircraft sometimes narrowly avoided midair collisions, and opposing ships occasionally collided at sea. NATO officials now worry about a new phase of reckless gamesmanship and its consequences.

A U.S. RC-135U, flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, is intercepted by a Russian SU-27 Flanker on June 19.
A U.S. RC-135U, flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, is intercepted…

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About Brittius

Direct Descendant of, Roman General, and Consul of Rome, BRITTIUS, of the Imperial Roman Army.
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